Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Today in the mail, we received the gift of a CD of lovely country-tinged music recorded by my brother and his wife, and a high school graduation announcement for the son of long-time dear friends. I also received an email today from close family friends who invited us to join them at their daughter's high school graduation. Last weekend, we traveled to San Diego to watch a beloved nephew graduate from California State University, San Marcos, and we had a ball at a lively family after-party.

These sweet expressions of love remind me that Ron, Andrea and I have untold riches in family and friends, in church and community and in personal gifts and skills.

As most family and friends realize, for the first time in our half-century lives, Ron and I have struggled financially since 9/11. First, we wisely (but oh-so-sadly) closed our business in December 2001, an economic victim of 9/11.

Then, Ron was unexpectedly laid off in Fall 2002 when his engineering job was outsourced to Mexico. He was out of work, and we were without income, for eight months. His new job, with a high-flying high-tech start-up lasted 15 months, until it was outsourced to somewhere in Southeast Asia.

He was out of work another three months, until he started his present job in April 2005. (And it's going well, is a perfect fit for Ron, and is only four miles from home. God had His plan!)

We seem to have stabilized financially. We're still standing, but have few backup resources. We have little in monetary riches.

It occurred to me today.....we're richly blessed with every type of riches except monetary. We love and we are loved. We love God. We see beauty in everyday life. We're satisfied in our pursuits.'s the odd thing.....we've become more satisfied and happy and appreciative, and our walks with God have strengthened measurably, in these last five years when we were the most financially challenged. Despite these past five years.
Because of these past five years.

We've truly learned the difference between need and want. We learned that having stuff doesn't make us happier. And we learned that simplicity of habits and schedules equates to greater inner peace.

So we are rich. God has blessed us with riches far beyond our imaginations or expectations.

We are better for the past five years. And we are grateful.

But trust me....the ride has been rough, and we would have opted out of it many times since 9/11, if God had only offered us that choice. :) And we still face financial challenges resulting from the past five years.....

Thursday, May 18, 2006

"The DaVinci Code" and "Left Behind"

For all those Christians who worked themselves into a frenzy, worrying that one action-laden work of fiction would shake the deeply held faith of is Roger Ebert's perfectly-stated film review of The DaVinci Code:

"They say The Da Vinci Code has sold more copies than any book since the Bible. Good thing it has a different ending. Dan Brown's novel is utterly preposterous; Ron Howard's movie is preposterously entertaining. Both contain accusations against the Catholic Church and its order of Opus Dei that would be scandalous if anyone of sound mind could possibly entertain them.

I know there are people who believe Brown's fantasies about the Holy Grail, the descendants of Jesus, the Knights Templar, Opus Dei and the true story of Mary Magdalene. This has the advantage of distracting them from the theory that the Pentagon was not hit by an airplane."

Read the rest of Ebert's review here.

He rates it a respectable three stars, and concludes, "The movie works; it's involving, intriguing and constantly seems on the edge of startling revelations."
Here's my question: where were all these hyper-vigilant Christians when the horribly paranoid, supremely silly, deeply flawed and biblically distorted "Left Behind" fictional books by LaHaye and Jenkins sold untold hundreds of millions of copies?

I'm always astonished when I find these trash books in church libraries.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My New 'Do or an Angel?

In a spontaneous fit of middle-aged feminine vanity, I changed my hair color last week to a lovely dark auburn.....not the rich, radical auburns of today's young women, but a robust, natural shade to rinse away my mousy gray-streaked sand-brown.

I think it takes 10 years off my hair age. But more importantly, I smile more. It's new and fun and I like what I see in the mirror.

But I wonder what the rest of my world thinks, other than Ron and Andrea who love whatever I dream and do.

In the market about an hour ago,I quickly rounded the corner with my almost-empty cart ( dog food, four bell peppers, body lotion) when I nearly ran down an old man slowly, painfully trudging to a door.

Me: I'm so sorry.

Old Man: No...I'm sorry.....

Me: Can I help you?

Old Man: No, no. (waves me away with his hand, then shakes his head.) I'm old.....and slow.

Me: (with a small laugh, pondering my blood pressure concerns) I'm getting old and slow, too.

Old Man: (pause) No you're not. You're young.

Me: Uh.....thank you!

Old Man: (looking straight at my eyes) You're young and beautiful.

And he trudged away.

Maybe it's my new 'do.

Or maybe God sent one of His angels to give me a kind, cheery word.

I hope it's both. I'll assume it's both......:)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

You Know You're a Grandparent When....

File this under "You know you're a grandparent when...."

While cleaning out some books today, I ran across four books about parenting. We have three adult children in their 20s (two of them married), one teenager left at home, and one adorable granddaughter who will celebrate her first birthday this month.

You know you're a grandparent when you find four books on parenting, and the two books you keep are Helping Your Child Love to Read and 52 simple Ways to Build Your Child's Confidence, and you toss James Dobson's Dare to Discipline and The Strong-Willed Child.